5 Things First-Time Thanksgiving Hosts Really Want You to Bring

updated May 1, 2019
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(Image credit: Rachel Joy Barehl)

Between cleaning the house, setting the table, and cooking the food, Thanksgiving hosts have a lot on their plates. It takes a lot of effort to make sure everything is up to snuff. This is especially true when you don’t have years of experience under your belt — or any.

For the first-timer, this holiday can be particularly overwhelming and, as a guest, you may be wondering how best to contribute to the meal. We asked a bunch of newbies, and here’s what they really want you to bring.

1. A Bottle of Wine (or Two)

Showing up with a bottle of wine is a great way to take some of the financial burden off a first-time host, as supplying enough wine for a crowd can be pricey. It doesn’t have to be a rare vintage; in fact, we’ve got plenty of picks that come in under $20.

If you’re going to an especially large soirée bring two bottles, or spring for a box of wine, which is equivalent to a few bottles in volume.

2. A Bottle of Bourbon

If you’re not into wine, a bottle of booze is a good alternative. This gift also prevents first-time hosts from dipping into their own liquor cabinet while entertaining.

Budget options abound, but if you have no clue what kind of booze to bring, Bulleit or Maker’s Mark are solid bourbon brands. As a bonus, your host can use whatever’s left to make hot toddies.

3. Side Dishes

If your host only has one oven, it can be tricky to prepare both the bird and the traditional sides. Ask in advance if there’s anything you can bring to round out the meal. Opt for a crowd-pleaser that can be made in advance and reheated while the turkey is resting or, better yet, something that doesn’t require any additional prep at all.

4. Something Sweet

Whether you unleash your inner Martha Stewart and whip up an elaborate cake or swing by your local supermarket and snag a pumpkin pie, showing up with dessert is almost always a smooth move. Not only is it one less thing for the first-time host to prepare, but pies, cookies, and sweets are the best way to end a holiday meal.

5. Leftover Containers

Most first-time hosts spend so much time planning for the meal that they don’t anticipate the mechanics of distributing leftovers and might not have known to stock up on adequate leftover containers. If you really want to make it easy for your host, show up with takeaway supplies in hand. It’ll make distribution of leftover food way easier, and your host will thank you for your foresight!

Go shopping: 10 of Our Favorite Storage Containers for Your Leftovers

Are you a first-time host? What do you really want guests to bring?